German Word of the Week(2): Angstschweiss

First, the psychological study, advertised at the University of Duesseldorf:


Sweat Study


The translation: “Are you are a healthy man, a student, and are just about to undergo an important oral exam?  Are you prepared to carry a cotton pad in your armpit twice for 90 minutes at a time? Then get in touch with us…” You’ll get paid 80 euros, which seems like a fair sum for something I do every day anyway.


Which brings us to a repeat of a GWOW, Angstschweiss, or “fear-sweat.”  Comparable to the English-language flop-sweat.  But it involves fear, which, as I’ve noted before, is a very prominent theme in Northern Europe. All the fearful male readers of this blog (you know who you are) should sign up for the study.  Strange women will smell your sweat, and who knows what could that could lead to….


7 thoughts on “German Word of the Week(2): Angstschweiss

  1. “You’ll get paid 80 euros, which seems like a fair sum for something I do every day anyway.”

    You carry cotton pads in your armpits everyday? scnr

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  2. As for the “strange women (who)will smell your sweat, and who knows what could lead to” – watch out what contraception she uses! As we were just informed by our ever-ready öffentlichrechtlicher radiostation WDR5, women`s – ahem – sexual sense of smell seems to be lead astray by the pill and consequently would not assist us in finding “Mr Right” anymore…

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  3. “But it involves fear, which, as I’ve noted before, is a very prominent theme in Northern Europe.”

    Being from Northern Europe (not German though) I have to say I resent this seemingly thoughtless remark. I could not disagree more. It’s only human to fear things going bad, but we don’t fear this more than the next continent. Even less, I’d say, having read this article:
    http://www.bowlingforcolumbine.com/library/fear/index.php

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  4. Did I say Northern Europeans were more fearful than people in other parts of the world? Nein! I said fear is a “very prominent theme” here. There’s a difference there.

    However, statement number one is more than defensible — nobody doubts that Europeans are more risk-averse than many other societies. Assuming you can map risk-aversion onto fear (which I think you can basically do), that would indicate they’re also more fearful. Which, of course, is neither a good thing nor a bad one!

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  5. Namely the Germans are more risk-averse than, e.g. the Americans or the British. But I suppose this risk-aversity that you and I mean is the one tracks back to Hofstede’s and Trompenaars’ research, and this was done in the economic / corporate culture context. I don’t think you can map that to fear so generally.

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